Ondo State APC is now a United, Big Family- Otunba Dele Ologun (SSA) Otunba Bamidele Ologun originally from Ita Ogbolu, Akure North, Ondo State is
Ondo State APC is now a United, Big Family- Otunba Dele Ologun (SSA)
Otunba Bamidele Ologun originally from Ita Ogbolu, Akure North, Ondo State is the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Ondo State on Political Matters in charge of the Central Senatorial District of the State.
The businessman turned politician with interest in Hotels, Real Estate, Oil and Gas is a philanthropy by standard. He has used his NGO, Dele Ologun Foundation to impact the lives of his people ranging from youth empowerment , Scholarships to indigent students, financial assistance to the aged, community services to mention the few.
He recently hosted the Editor-in-Chief of the Chronicle Magazine, Olaseeni Oyesusi and Awodeyi Elizabeth where divergent issues were discussed.
When did you venture into politics?
I have been in politics for a long time though not on a full time basis. I joined fully during the days of Alliance for Democracy that metamorphosed into Action Congress and into Action Congress of Nigeria and now All Progressives Congress(APC)
What motivated you to go into politics?
I ventured into politics because of the passion for my people. I ventured because I wanted to change things. Looking at the ways things are in the country, one of the ways you can help your people is to venture into politics. Initially, I used to follow my brother to ward meetings and it was from there I had the passion and I believed I could make the difference and that is why I am here.
From our findings, you have not occupied any political post before now but you have been impacting the lives of many people. What drives you?
I believe that you don’t have to occupy any political position before you can add value to the lives of your people. When you are good, you are good. I like helping people and I believe in fighting the cause of my people. When such a passion is in you and you get into a position, you will do better.
I believe if God has blessed you, you should allow it to flow to others. In this life, nothing is permanent. At the end of it all, its vanity upon vanity.
Sir, you have made a good name for yourself as a philanthropist, don’t you think jumping into the murky water of politics at this time is not the best?
Right now, I am in Ondo State to support my Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu. If he has called me and has given me an assignment, it is my duty to take it and see what I can do to make a difference. Its still part of giving support to my Governor and to my people. Yes, I agree with you that I don’t have to be in a political position before I make an impact. But at the same time, if I have a principal like the Governor and he wants me to function in a particular office, then I have to because I want him to return back to office. This job that he has given me has to do with his coming back and I am with him one hundred percent.
You are known to offer assistance to your people in terms of empowerment. What informed your decision to be doing this?
What informed my decision is my wish to see people smile; to see my people get educated and to assist those willing to go to school to become self-reliant and independent.
We also learnt you assist widows and the aged?
Its not something we just started yesterday. Don’t forget that I also have a foundation that I sponsor under Dele Ologun foundation- it has been in existence for so many years. It was registered in 2011 and we have been doing that and hope to do more.
Do you still hear from some of the students you assisted financially?
Some have graduated while some are still in the university. Its a thing of joy for me and I just believe that we should lend a helping hand to others and that God will reward one someday.
What is your word of advice to others who have the ability and capacity to do such?
I will advise that everyone should look into it and see how to assist others because whatever it is you do today, lives after you. The Bible even affirms that if you give, you shall be given.
The Governor has appointed you as a Senior Special Assistant on Political Matters in the Central of the State of which some people are saying that the appointment relegates your personality. How would you react to this?
The Governor understands better; I don’t care because I’m his boy. I don’t care what anybody is saying. The Governor is my father and my Governor and all I know is that he is coming back for the second time and that he wants me to work for him. I believe he has given me this position because he believes in me and that I cannot mess it up. I will work for him and will remain loyal to him because I believe in his course and in his government.
As the Senior Special Assistant on Political Matter, what are your expectations?
Mobilization. I am to mobilize for the Governor in the central. Initially, he used to have an SSA that covers the whole state but now, he has decentralized it. I am in the Central. What he asked us to do is to mobilize and let people know what he is doing; take a look at the roads and other infrastructures, some people may not be aware, thus, its my job to make them know and see reasons why the devil they know is better than the saint they have not seen. Nobody is perfect and Governor Akeredolu is someone they already know If they compare him with others.
How do you intend to go about it?
Simple. The Governor has already done things that are very obvious. This is what I will use to campaign for him — the roads and other infrastructures are lifetime investment. If you go to most of the renovated schools, you will see the wonderful things he has done there. Some of them have world class toilets. In those days, we used to have anyhow toilet but he is changing the narratives. He is saying we can do so much with the little resources we have. He is performing so I can easily talk to anybody about the need to give him a second chance.
Look at the Ore flyover projects- I have things to campaign with. He has made the job very easy for me.
Internal Democracy within a party is an integral part of government, and to some extent, it appears this government is lacking in this regard?
What do you mean by that statement that this government is lacking?
Some Party members are complaining that they are not being carried along.
Which party members?
You need to get your facts rights. If anybody is complaining to you, you must have it at the back of your mind that you can never satisfy everybody.
Is APC in Ondo State not factionalized as far as the people can see?
Everywhere in the world is factionalized; families are even factionalised. Do you know that every family has its own issue?
For us as a party, we will surmount it. It is nothing to worry about because It is an internal issue and we will surmount it. You will recall that the leaders of our party came around few weeks ago, they were not here to count the number of vehicles on our road but to talk to us and they have told us what to do and in the shortest period of time, you will see the change. We are all together in APC and APC is one big family. I can assure you that the only thing we have is little grievances that are not insurmountable. All we need to do is to dialogue. The Governor is ready and has set the ball rolling; he wants reconciliation and trust me, in the shortest period of time, you will see the change.
Some people are saying that the reconciliation meeting does not guarantee the governor getting the party’s ticket; what is your take on this?
Are they God? Who is saying that? What is sure in this life? The only thing that is sure in this life is death. This man will get this one. Let me tell you, this man is coming back for the second time by the grace of God.
But some people are still holding the grudge that the Governor was in alliance with another party during the last election?
That was in the past.
People will always refer to the past.
I don’t even know what you are talking about. In the last election, the powers that be in our party made some people to go to those deserted party and today, those people are back and we have welcomed them. Why do you want to crucify someone for making a mistake or for doing something because he was aggrieved? I will tell you once again, that was in the past.
As SSA on political matters, what are the things you have in stock to change the narrative of the people in the Central?
We will do the needful. Our people need us to make them more relevant. They need us to reach out to them and in the coming weeks, we will start to reach out to everyone that needs to be reached. We will keep talking to our people, we will engage them, dialogue with them and beg if possible. My job is easier now because the governor has made it easy for me by doing so much that I can base my campaign on. In the Central, I am very happy because I have the party Chairman, Ade Adetimehin with me. If I have any issues or he has any ideas, he will share with me.
Do you think APC is still as strong as it used to be?
Stronger than it used to be. Even the worst of our enemies know that we have tried. No matter what anybody is saying, this government has touched many lives. You may not know it now but will know in the nearest future. This Governor has been going to every nook and cranny to build roads to open up businesses for people. Do you know what it means? He may not have given someone food but he has created an avenue for that person to get food and I always respect people that teach how to fish than someone that gives fish.
By the time Akeredolu completes his four years term, what would have happened within the state?
Already you are seeing it and we still have one and half years, just watch out.
What is your advice to the people especially those in the Central?
My advice is that they should be patient and should keep praying for this government. They should continue to support the performing Governor and Mr. Infrastructure while they expect more. We are coming to every door and every home.
I forgot to add this that behind every successful man, there is a woman.
My respect to our mummy in Ondo State, Arabirin Betty Anyanwu Akeredolu. Have you seen her programmes here and there? She has been supporting this government massively and has supported her husband maximally. I will just tell the people to watch out for her. Very soon in the next few weeks, summer tennis will start and the BEMORE Camp training.
The belief of your people is that you have been short changed to the extent that your people reluctantly voted for your party in the last election – how would you pacify them now?
The last election, the Presidential and National Assembly was not about the Governor. The Governor was not contesting in those elections. This time around, it is going to be a different ball game because the Governor is loved by every lover of progress in the State. He has been able to deliver the Dividends of Democracy to the door steps of the electorates. So, the only way they can pay him back is to re elect him.
Over time, the issue of vote buying has become an integral part of our Electoral process to the extent that some people buy and sell votes even in the open. What solution would you proffer to this?
Three things are responsible for vote buying; first, Hunger, second is Orientation or mentality and the last one is bad governance.
Now, Our Governor, Arakunrin has been able to reduce the hunger in the land to the barest minimum through the prompt payment of salaries and gratuities of the workers. Even, the arrears he met, he has almost paid up. There have been empowerment and loans are being given to the market women, the farmers are also not left out.
He will soon commence the massive employment of teachers, health workers, forest guards and so on. So, with this hunger is gradually becoming a thing of the past. In the area of good governance, to say that Arakunrin is up to task is an understatement going by what I have enumerated above and the infrastructural revolution and other lives changing programs.
For instance, the Industrial Park provides all required infrastructure for sustainable functionality, which Include roads, 30 Megawatts of power and expandable to 120Megawatts, portable water, commercial areas, security etc.
It is designed to create an estimated 120,000 decent employment opportunity- thereby, mitigating the disturbing rate of unemployment in the society. This is also in line with Goal 8 of the SDG “Decent work and Economic Growth”.
The Ore Industrial Park project was launched on 20th of February, 2018, to break the vicious cycle of poverty in the state by industrializing, rather than depending on food crop production and funds from direct sales of natural resources.
Within these period of time, the Ore Industrial park is already hosting four major functional industries, namely, the Ondo-Linyi Textile industry, the Cassava –Ethanol Factory in partnership with NNPC, for local petrol, blending and ethanol for industries, Trucks and Tricycle Assemblage Plant, and an established Paper mill setting off to commence operations and more are in line jostling for the industrial park arena.
Other critical efforts by the Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led administration at Industrializing the state include, Establishment and Management of Integrated Sugar Cane Value Chain Project at Ikaro in Ose LGA, in partnership with COCASET NIGERIA LTD, Sugarcane to Ethanol Plant having a plantation size of 1,250hectares, The establishment and management of a commercial Scale Poultry Farm and Powdered Egg Plant Project at Emure-Ile, Owo LGA, Ondo State, in partnership with Greenfield Assets Ltd, this will be the largest egg-powder plant in Africa and Middle-East, The establishment of Rice Production Mill of 37,500Mt of rice per annum at Igbara Oke, Ifedore LGA, in partnership with Africa Redcrest Nigeria Ltd, having Rice plantation on 2,000hectares of land and supported by outgrowers scheme of local farmers, The establishment and Operation of Fertilizer Blending Plant of 300,000Mt per annum, Sack Woven 10,000,000 units per annum and Limestone Milling of 150,000 Mt per annum at Ore, Odigbo LGA in partnership with AGTHO Merchant and Company Ltd, an active drive on establishment of Deep Sea Port with near completion of the Geotechnical and Hydrographic surveys as well as the feasibility studies and Conceptual Master plan Design on the Port and The establishment, management and operation of Free Trade Zone at Ilaje Local Govt in partnership with ZGM Investment Group of Company. With all these, bad governance has been defeated in Ondo State.
So, the third one which has to be about mentality; we will continue to sensitise our people on the need to shun vote buying as it will never do them any good. This is because some people that are not even poor in the Society do sell their votes.
We should let them know that they can even collect some money and yet vote for the best, the tested and trusted. However, I think our people are wiser than before now. I know they would vote according to their conscience.
So, My advice to the electorate is that they should not short change their future because whatever they get as peanut can’t sustain them for four years. They should vote wisely.
How would you describe the activities of the members of Mr Governor’s cabinet?
When you have a brilliant Governor; he will always gather brilliant people. They are performing and they are all working. The Governor cannot be everywhere and that is why he has 18 commissioners and Special Advisers that work with him.
Come 2020, do you believe Akeredolu will be returned as the Governor?
By the grace of Almighty God, he will.
Herdsmen killing has been on the rise in Ondo State and by extension, Nigeria. What would you proffer as solution?
I am ashamed that this is happening during our own time when we have President Buhari as President and APC as the National Party. I won’t mince words – it is very sad. I think the Federal Government needs to react quickly because the people are now scared to go to their farmlands. It is unheard of. I have been around for a while -over 40 years and I have never heard that my father cannot go to farm and that he is scared. I still want to believe that some people are hiding under Herdsmen to perpetrate crimes. I don’t think it is only the Herdsmen that are responsible for all these atrocities. There are violent Herdsmen, yet some people are perpetrating crimes in disguise. My advice is that the President should change the entire military architecture in the country and see how he can work around them and turn things around.
What is your advice to the people generally?
They should be prayerful. As a person, I am not happy about the development and I am also aware that Mr. Governor is working round the clock to ensure that there is an end to this. The Governor is the Chairman of Southwest Governors Forum and I am aware they had a security summit and are working out something and by the grace of God, things will work out.
The Oni of Ife recently went to the president which means no one is sleeping and that these leaders are working.
Do you believe in the capacity and ability of the military to tackle this menace?
I don’t know. But I believe if the military is determined to work and they are well equipped, there will be changes. All we want is peace. The way they are handling it- its as if something is wrong somewhere.
Do you think the retaliation move by Gani Adams led OPC will get off the ground?
I hope it won’t get to that. We don’t need war because when elephants fight, grasses suffer. I dont see retaliation coming up.